Saturday, March 2, 2013

Second Saturday of Lent:“My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and as been found.” (Luke 15: 31-32)



Today’s Gospel passage is one of the most recognized and fascinating of the Bible, rich in images, thoughts, surprises, choices, and unexpected events. The parable delineates the rapport between a father and his sons and between two brothers. It invites us to reflect on the consequences of their choices, just the way the murmuring scribes and Pharisees were asked to reflect when they were so scandalized that the Master received publicans and sinner and ate with them.

To some degree, the scribes and Pharisees reflect the attitudes of the older brother in the parable. For his whole life, he had been busy with the tasks of the house and fields, of the administration, so that all would function perfectly and increase the father’s wealth. At the end of a tiring day of work, he returns home to find the wasteful brother who had used up a good part of his work. He is not able to recognize and accept that in his brother’s heart, the desire to re-establish a rapport with his father and family could be rekindled, and that this time he would be responsible and worthy. Actually, the older brother needs this too. He must rekindle this desire in himself as well.

The father comes to his assistance. He does not need embraces, clothing, and lavish food. However, he does need to remember the privilege he has by being always with his father. Together with the father, he must rejoice in this return of the one who was lost but was able to get hold of himself with humility and seriousness. In this way, we can all find we are brothers and sisters in the merciful embrace of the Father.

Today in my pause for silent contemplation, I will reflect on my attitude toward those who err. Am I ready to receive them when they realize their fault and repent or do I harden my heart against them?

I will get up and go to my father and I will say to him, ‘I have sinned against heaven and before you…’

The Voice of Pope Benedict XVI, Lenten Message 2013

The whole salvific initiative comes from God, from His Grace, from His forgiveness received in faith. But this initiative, far from limiting our freedom and our responsibility, rather makes it authentic and directs it towards works of charity.

- Living Scripture